Monthly Archives: April 2011

I Am A Cider Drinker

Another day in the cigar shack. It’s been a long day, but it’s been a productive day and my sales, while in the third place are still pretty good, four figure range. It’s Calvin and Thomas and myself once again.

Tomorrow I am off as I requested at the beginning of April so I could attend the Hoboken Art & Music Festival on Washington Street. I am really looking forward to seeing Ian Hunter and I believe Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro is playing with Ian Hunter. Hopefully that means Meghan and Lily and Ruby will also be in town and it is always very good to see them.

I spoke with Hyman Gross earlier in the day and apparently his bone density is good enough that a pin may have been inserted and not needing him to wear a cast and be incapacitated for 12 weeks.

That would not be good for Hyman since he thrives on getting around and having him housebound would not be a good thing at all. Bill and I plan on seeing him tomorrow in the hospital and all three of us are looking forward to it.

I had lunch with Raymond, aka Dave who used to work alongside me in the cigar shack. We didn’t eat, we smoked cigars on a bench near the park. I ate before heading out. It was good to see him, I hadn’t seen him in a while.

Bill is driving once again to Atlantic City. I did not see him at all this morning, he missed the train he usually takes and had to catch a 10:00 train which is when I was headed to the bus stop. I gambled and hoped that a 10:30 bus would show up and much to my surprise it did.

So it’s been a busy and relatively fun day in the cigar shack.

Now the fire alarm is going off. We are on alert. There was no need for alarm and there was no need for the alarm. It turns out some kids pulled the fire alarm then ran. I suppose a false alarm is better than an actual alarm, that is unless there was a need for the fire department elsewhere.

No, I didn’t do it. I was too busy taking pride in my job, you know, me and millions of other people not complaining or whining about having to stand on concrete floors for 9 hours a day. Because we are all exactly the same, we are all in the same situations.

The knee seems to be getting better, new shoes helped but at the end of the day I look forward to an ice pack on my knee the same way a businessman looks forward to a martini or whatever when they come home from work.

And of course climbing up subway stairs as well as four flights of stairs doesn’t really help the knee but instead of sounding like I am whining, I might as well just stop writing right now.
UA-9199038-1 from Toms River?


Raymond aka Dave


I Am A Tangerine

Another day at the cigar shack and another day without the brain dead Bradley, which means another good day. Thomas and Calvin as well as Marcus have all been on board today and it hasn’t been such a bad day after all.

In fact the day started out slowly and then all of a sudden there was a rush, a line of gents and the occasional woman in a queue to buy some cigars and accessories. It certainly made things go faster for a while which made a difference. It all went splendidly, like a well oiled machine.

The day started out with Bill phoning me, telling me he left his iPhone at home. I couldn’t find it, so he had to call and let it ring so I could locate it. That was done then it was a text asking me to find some cables for his phone. Found those cables and I told him I would bring them to him on my way to work.

I figured I was going to be a little late going in and so I phoned the store and told Calvin that I was going to be a bit late. I didn’t figure that the bus I was riding in on would make a right turn and head to 34th street rather than make a left turn and go directly into the bus terminal.

It was a slight diversion but luckily the bus driver knew what to do and a delay of 5 minutes wasn’t so bad. I made it over to Bill office building where I found Bill standing outside waiting for me. It certainly was good to see Bill if only for a few minutes.

Then I headed to the subway to the cigar shack. I was only about 15 minutes late which was better than I expected. Still I don’t handle being late very well and was a wee bit rattled.

Now it’s me and Thomas manning the ship and it’s so far, so good. Thomas is sticking around tonight to begin to learn about closing. He’s supposed to be watching my every move. It should be interesting.

An hour or so later. And it was relatively interesting. Time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to close the cigar shack for the night. My shadow Thomas looked over my shoulder and occasionally out the window looking at pretty girls walking by.

Still he paid enough attention and did what I told him to do, which was basically count this, count that. Count it again, now write this here, check that box and move that there. It was all easy and I wished I had someone like me showing me how to close the registers properly instead of the haphazard way I was taught.

I did have an interesting chat with Marcus and Calvin earlier today about closing the shop and OCD. Marcus had it happen to him as well, not really sure if he closed the shop at night and going so far as to get in his car and drive back to the cigar shack from home just to make sure the door was locked.

I didn’t go that far and it was good to make sure that it was locked with Thomas around.

I also heard from Hyman Gross who had surgery this morning and according to him it went well. He’s looking forward to my visit on Sunday as well as hearing from Bill tomorrow. Bill is presently driving a bus down to Atlantic City tonight and I expect to hear from my beloved in an hour or so.

The weather is quite nice tonight, like an early summer or late spring evening. Turning Japanese played endlessly in my head throughout the day after hearing it on my Ca Plane Pour Moi iPod playlist today. Is it really about masturbation? 30 years later I still have no idea, but man do I have itchy palms and a hankering for sushi.





I Alone

A day without the brain dead Bradley is like a day with sunshine. Yes the brain dead Bradley went back to the confederacy, just a few days off, not permanent, but one can hope and entertain fantasies. Like being struck by a homesickness, symptoms so strong that he may feel the best thing to do is stay put.

Just finished last week’s New Yorker, specifically the article on the brain and how it relates to time. Or the article on time and how the brain perceives it. To my surprise towards the end of the article they go to England where they meet up with Brian Eno, who is very much interested in that type of thing.

Then there was a review of the new book on Malcolm X which was a good read. I was big into Malcolm X before the Spike Lee revival, in fact I was one of the few white guys in the US who was wearing a Malcolm X t-shirt a few years before the movie came out.

Oh the stares I used to get. I still respect Malcolm X but I certainly do not have the same ardor that I used to have. And the OCD from the other day was a complete waste of time. Of course the door was locked. I realized that this morning on the way in. I remembered looking at the door key as I was walking out and that should have been the tip off.

I came in this morning, and Calvin had a complaint about how one of his customers, Steve Sciatica was upset with me. Mainly because he’s an idiot and I did not laugh at his asinine jokes, so he went running to Calvin to complain. The guy is strictly vaginal slang.

Funny thing is, or maybe the ironic thing, is that Bill’s boss bought Bill a box of cigars for administrative professionals day. I set the whole thing up on Tuesday, no discount, all on the up & up.

Now the same thing happened in December and Calvin took the sale and the commission then, he was all over Bill’s boss like white on rice. Yesterday since it was my sale Calvin barely gave Bill’s boss the time of day.

Now compare that to Calvin’s guy who is a gigantic asshole to Bill’s boss who isn’t. It’s the ace up my sleeve if and when Calvin has the cojones to bring up Steve Sciatica once again.

I did speak with Thomas (who while being only a year or two older than Juan, is so much younger mentally & culturally than our Juan) about the Calvin/Sciatica Bill’s boss thing while Calvin was at lunch and told Thomas that what I was telling him was in confidence and that I didn’t need to have to deal with another situation with the brain dead Bradley in any event.

When I came back from lunch I found that Calvin was oddly distant, but that might have been some substance marking the distance.

I spoke with Hyman Gross today. He is having surgery on his tibia and fibula tomorrow morning at 10:00. It all depends on his bone density whether or not he can get a pin inserted. Or it will require a cast on his leg, forcing him to stay put for 12 weeks, which isn’t that good since Hyman lives to get around. Or a plate for his leg which will also incapacitate him for a lengthy amount of time. We’re all hoping he has good bone density.

I won’t be able to see him until Sunday but I will be calling him tomorrow afternoon.








Interesting to see ol’ lazy teat Greg still reading the blog.

I Ain’t Worried

Well I’m in an interesting position. Nothing earth shattering or life changing (or maybe it is, I don’t know). I’m home, a day off. Laundry folded and put away. Groceries bought. Nap was taken. Can’t say it’s been productive for a day off, but I did get some things done.

I saw Hyman Gross in the hospital. Once again asleep when I arrived. He’s scheduled for surgery today and he just called me quite unnerved. I tried to reassure him that he would be alright and told him I would visit him in a few hours.

I keep wanting to go out but don’t know where to go. I love Hoboken but it is only a mile square and I’ve covered a lot of ground, though not recently. Itching to do something but lack the impetus to do so.

Last night Juan came over again. And once again it was good to see him and have him over. Bill was even awake for it last night. Didn’t stay up too long, he went to bed while Juan and I hung out and watched some television, the Colbert Report and a repeat of 30 Rock.

Around 12:30 I started getting tired and had to send him out as I was falling asleep. And I slept really well, longer than I anticipated. I was awoken not by the alarm clock but rather my cellphone two rooms away. I didn’t recognize what it was at first and didn’t rush to get out of bed to find out.

Eventually I did get out of bed and found that I missed a call from Hyman. He knew I had off today and was looking forward to me stopping by. I thought he said something regarding his surgery, which was scheduled for 2:00. I went over around 12:30 and sat with him for an hour.

It didn’t seem like he was scheduled for surgery. We chatted for a while about old movies, and I got him some cologne and the New York Times. Then it was a trip to the supermarket for some groceries and picking up some dry cleaning on the way home.

And that’s about it. I want to go out, but then again I don’t want to go out. I will be going to see Hyman again in a little while I guess, but first I’ll call to make sure he is out of surgery. And if so, he might be drugged up again and therefore unconscious. Visiting hours are until 8:00 and it’s now 6:30. I guess I will give him a call about 7:00.

I’ve been asked to do something with regards to my writing. I am asking you, the reader- to perhaps let me know, which of the previous entries struck a chord or made you laugh or cry or punch a wall in either disgust or sheer bliss.

I hope I’m not asking too much, but you are reading this and I reckon that you might have read somethings before. You can leave a comment here in this entry about what’s what. I’d appreciate it.

I just called Hyman. He didn’t have the surgery since he wouldn’t sign the paperwork since they wouldn’t give him a straight answer. 83 years old and still pretty sharp with regards to legal matters. I keep trying to get Hyman to write his life story, from what I gather he has led an interesting life.

So there is no need to go to the hospital tonight. I guess I will stop by on Sunday, my next day off, on the way to going to the Hoboken Art & Music festival.





I’m going to sit on the front steps, have a cigar and read the New Yorker until it gets dark. And I did just that and then it started getting dark.

It was nice to just sit there and read last week’s New Yorker, an article about 2 of my favorite subjects, Time and the Brain. In this case it was how the brain perceives time. My type of article.

I Am a Cliché

Back in the shack full of cigars. Been another alright day. Working with the brain dead Bradley is getting easier and easier. Not that he is making an effort, on the contrary, he is getting easier to ignore.

I don’t think I had more than twenty words to say to him all day. And it gives me a nice enough distance to realize that the ‘man’ is a fucking idiot. I harbored suspicions previously but now it’s confirmed. And he’s a dirty little get over perhaps, or maybe it’s his idiocy.

This morning, as I slept, Bill was kissing my face over and over saying goodbye. I foolishly said to stop and let me go back to sleep, I mean, I still had two hours to sleep before I needed to get out of bed.

I regretted it later of course, like so many things that I do or say when it comes to Bill. But Bill knows that I am not a morning person and it’s a bit risky to tease this wolf before it’s had its coffee. I got up and did my thing, showered, cereal and of course coffee.

Reading emails and checking Facebook I was saddened to read that Poly Styrene from X Ray Spex died after a battle with cancer. Then later on I found out that Phoebe Snow died as well. Not a good day for singers with the initials of P.S. today. Patti Smith better beware.

Other than that the day was not at all impressive. Weather wise it was beautiful but here I was, inside, working with the brain dead Bradley. I was able to take a peek outside as well as seeing the red carpet laid out for Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Doorknobs near the cigar shack.

The sky was blue, the temperature was close to, if not actually 80 degrees and the paparazzi was all lined up, waiting for those influential doorknobs.

The cigar shack’s cleaning woman just found a portfolio, containing legal documents that some customer left behind after they left the man cave. I looked into the portfolio to see if there was a recognizable name but there wasn’t. Some gruesome photographs though of what might have been a botched robbery attempt.

I saw Julio last night which was good. He’s off to Denmark on Friday. I got my new shoes from him after having them delivered this place of work. He and Stine may be moving soon, maybe staying in town.

It was a matter of time. They couldn’t keep the baby in a pen much longer, he will need room to grow and who knows if they have another baby on the way? It will be strange when they move out, but I already made my excuses not to help him move.

And Juan stopped by last night. Turned me onto yet some more good tunes which I will have to get somehow if someone will show me how to get torrents. It was good to see him again, he was up from South Jersey since his step grandfather died last week and it was wake last night, funeral this morning.

That’s it for now. Have to call Hyman when I get home and will have to see him tomorrow.

And I called Hyman, now that I am home. He is scheduled to have surgery on his foot or leg tomorrow and doesn’t want me to show up when he is in surgery. This is what he worries about the night before surgery.

And a touch of OCD visited upon me tonight. I always think that I didn’t lock the door when I leave the cigar shack and tonight it was the same thing. I almost got off the train to get on another train to go back to the shack to find out. But I always lock it and I always check.

I used to think the same thing about Farfetched. I would think I left a cigarette burning even though there was no smoking in the store. I tell you, if Bill had a car I would ask him to drive me to the cigar shack to check.






new shoes

I Ain’t Thru

A quick one while he’s away. Calvin presently sitting in the man cave finishing up a cigar he started a few hours ago. It’s all good. He was interrupted a few times so it’s not like its owl stretching time. It’s been an alright day working with Calvin and the Braindead Bradley.

As Bill was kissing me goodbye this morning I had to ask him if I was working today, so deep in sleep I was. Bill told me I was and I had no reason to doubt him. I kept hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock, finally getting out to the sound of Herb Alpert’s Rise which I took to be a sign to get out of bed and to start the day.

Last night I watched I’m Not There, the pseudo bio-pic about Bob Dylan starring Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Wishshaw, Christian Bale and Richard Gere, each playing a facet of Dylan’s persona. I had seen it before and just picked it up from the bibliothèque.

Since it was due back today I thought I should watch it. I’m pretty much sure I enjoyed it more the second time around, but decided not to try for the Fourth Time Around. Did not watch much of anything else after that, Bill had gone to sleep by that point.

I am reminded of Jimmy Seltzer, fab customer who comes in and hangs out in the man cave after hours. He asked me last week how many jobs have I worked and I came up with the number of 18.

Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, 1330 Corp, EnRoute messengers, Friedman Alpren & Green, San Loco, Murdoch Magazines, Take One Video, Rizzoli, Skyline Studios, Right Track Recording, Deniz Productions, Arista Records, People Magazine, The Lodge, Staffmark, Adecco, Vanguard Staffing, Putnam Lovell NBF, Wolff Olins, Legend Staffing, Bio-IB, and now the cigar shack.

22 jobs actually. Forgot about a few when I was originally asked, and there maybe be some that I’ve forgotten. Does Farfetched count? It was part time and OTB. I’m sure Jimmy Seltzer had less of a job list than me. Then again, he’s a professional and I’m just a leaf in the wind.

Jimmy Seltzer and I also talked about most played songs on our iPods. I guessed correctly that the most played song on my iPod would be Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles. Now when I just checked, it is Just Be Good to Me by the SOS Band.

But having just played Tomorrow Never Knows twice, it is once again the most played song on my iPod. Sorry SOS Band, but I’m sure Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis would understand. After SOS Band, the third most played song on my iPod is I Only Have Eyes for You by the Platters.

I just saw Julio and picked up some shoes that I ordered and shipped to his place of work. I could have picked them up over the weekend but after having to deal with people all day long at the cigar shack, I am too wiped out to even stop by one of my dearest friends’ apartments for a beer and a chat. Another drawback to this job, standing on my feet in dress shoes for nine hours a day.

Yes I am complaining and yes I am trying to better myself in the face of bitterness. Even ambivalent to meeting a friend of mine and Harpy’s whom we haven’t seen in quite a long time. She’s in town until the end of the month and the only time to see her is when I would be off and heading into the city on a day off really isn’t something that I do these days.

Hyman Gross is in the hospital. Hyman broke his leg getting into a taxi on Saturday. Surgery will have to be done. I saw him for about an hour yesterday, he was fading in and out of consciousness due to the heavy painkillers he is on. It was good to see him nonetheless and I hope he pulls through with no trouble.

an interesting bird I saw this morning





I Ain’t Marching Anymore

Another rainy day, this time it is a Saturday. I slept really well last night. I took a fish oil pill/tablet early yesterday and then took another later in the day. My mood was elevated somewhat and I was feeling good.

Bill and I watched a talk show of sorts featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock and Louis CK. It was entertaining, and Bill certainly got a lot out of it. He went to bed soon after that and I stayed up.

The other night I stayed up and watched Frailty starring Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey and Powers Booth. I had seen it in the theater with Julio when it came out originally and I couldn’t take my eyes off it the other night. Definitely low key and engrossing.

Last night I don’t remember what I watched but wound up going to bed earlier than I usually do. I think the fish oil pills helped with my sleeping. When I woke up this morning it was all about rain. That made me want to sleep in some more but no, I had to get it together and get to work.

Bill was up and doing things on his computer. I shuffled about, making coffee, pouring cereal and stepping into the shower. Eventually Bill walked me to the bus stop where Hyman gave me a call.

Apparently he was getting into a cab and slipped and broke something. So instead of the cab driving him to the opera, it drove him to the emergency room. Bill was off today so he was going to visit Hyman in the hospital when he got a chance.

I was headed to work and killed as much time outside before heading in. Unfortunately the rain made me want to head in. Calvin was in the shop, Thomas was en route.

It’s been a slow day. I treated myself to a nice lunch at the Moon Rock diner and wandered around outside for the rest of my lunch hour since it had stopped raining. Still overcast and battleship grey skies, but no rain.

Just killing time now. It’s been an OK day so far and now it’s night time which for some is the right time, but for me it’s the time to go home. I was supposed to hang out with Julio last night but I postponed it to tonight and still despite my fondness for Julio I would rather just go home and not do anything at all.

Still if he calls I will show up. What’s a couple of beers between two old friends? Plus today is Alexander’s birthday, three years old! So maybe he would like to talk about that. I’d be cool about that.

Now Thomas and I are discussing the usage of the word ‘queer’. He uses it for describing things that he finds strange. I don’t. I hear it and think ‘derogatory word’. He said if he uses it and I’m offended, he won’t use it anymore. That’s nice to know.

No call from Julio and I am home now. Bill is coming home from visiting Hyman in the hospital, which is what I will be doing tomorrow. I am certainly quite happy, almost over the moon to have a paid holiday tomorrow.

Some good news from Harpy which was nice to hear, but it is still not my story and I won’t be intrusive but science does work, sometimes. Now I am waiting for Bill to come home from the supermarket.

And it is Sunday tomorrow, so no writing for me, unless of course there is something to write about.

a note in the hallway


a note in the vestibule





I Ain’t Ready To Quit

Well it’s been a good Friday and a very interesting Friday at that. It seemed ordinary enough when I woke up around 9:30. A shower was needed to wake up, since there was no coffee to be made. I salvaged what was left of yesterday’s coffee, knowing that I’ve had worse.

It was only half a cup and it was going to have to get me to Washington Street and deal with ‘people’. I slowly drank the day old coffee and read some emails when there was a buzzer at the door. I asked on the intercom who it was and there was no response.

I wasn’t expecting anyone and if it were a delivery they’d usually say loud and clear who they were and what they were doing. I went back to the email and ignored the repeated buzzing. I got my shirts and a suit together to bring to the dry cleaners and also grabbed some canvas bags for a trip to the grocery store.

Knee brace on, I made it down the four flights of stairs. There was a young man standing on the other side of the door. I asked ‘Could I help you?’ and he said he was there to fix the cable on the second floor.

That seemed fishy since Antonia passed away last weekend and she lived on the second floor and I don’t much about the other apartment on the same floor. I asked him if he had some ID and he said he left it in the truck parked up the street. I told him I wasn’t going to let him in and closed the door behind me.

While I walked down the street I turned around and saw that he was still there. It was an odd feeling that I had, odd enough that I decided to call the Hoboken police department. I told them that there was a young man standing outside my building, trying to get in, saying that he worked for the cable company. They took my information and said they would look into it after I described what he looked like and what he was wearing.

I went to the dry cleaners, to Dunkin Donuts for 2 lbs. of coffee, the newsstand and the bagel shop before looping around and heading to the supermarket. I passed by my street, this time walking on the southern part. I looked to see if the young man was still on my stoop but did not see him.

Went to the supermarket and spent money, everything adds up to being about $10.00 more these days and I buy the stuff on sale mostly. In the supermarket I got a phone call from Hoboken PD and they asked for my name and birthdate. I gave them the info and headed home.

No one in front of my building again as I climbed the four flights of stairs with 2 canvas bags of groceries and one bum knee. Sat around and watched TV, made breakfast and the oh so important coffee. About an hour or so later, I got another call from Hoboken PD.

They were letting me know they caught the young man. Apparently he was trying the same thing up the street and they started asking him questions. False name, false ID, with a story rife with holes. And he had an accomplice. The Hoboken PD thanked me and what else could I say but ‘you’re welcome’?

A while after that I decided to head out and walk around. As I was leaving the building a detective approached. He was going next door to my neighbor Chris’ house and gave me a look as he was identifying himself.

I stated who I was and that I made the call. Chris had come outside and apparently one of the things the two crooks do is get some personal info from a victim and order computers and whatnot in the victim’s name, then they wait for the stuff to arrive so they could rip it off.

The detective took my info once again, checked my ID and then stated that I hit a home run. Apparently most people ignore this type of thing and they were glad that I at least did something. He shook my hand and I headed off enjoying a cigar, feeling good.

I’m glad I did what I did. If Antonia was still alive, she might have buzzed them in and then who knows what might have happened? Or Stine and Alexander? I took a chance and could have erred on the side of caution, but it turns out my hunch was correct. Much like Igor I suppose.
An interesting day, no?






I Ain’t Hiding

Today is Iggy Pop’s birthday, and Jim Osterberg is 64 years old. Still has a great body, still rocking the stage with the Stooges. I was reminded just a moment ago about how when I moved in with my father (quite ill advised) and he was going through my stuff in boxes in the basement.

In one of the boxes was a collection of cassettes, including some tapes that my late friend Jet had made for me. One of the tapes was named for an Iggy Pop song on it, I Got My Cock in My Pocket. My father found that tape and was thoroughly disgusted by the name of the cassette.

He made a point of telling me so, by yelling at me and telling what a pervert I was and how my mother would never have stood for something like that. True she might have been upset by the title of the cassette, but she would have gotten over it eventually.

This guy was more focused on just putting me down. After all I was the great disappointment in his eyes. I do have to thank Iggy Pop for pissing my father off like that. Cheers to you Iggy!

Today is also the birthday of Robert Smith from the Cure as well as the drummer for Wire, Robert Gotobed. A great punk rock birthday day which I would not have known about if it weren’t for Facebook.

Last night I slept really well, pillow between my knees providing great relief. The pillows help as does a soft gel of Fish Oil and Ibuprofen in the morning. Bill kissed me good bye and I mustered a smile. I had to concentrate to do such a thing and I think Bill appreciated it, though he says I always smile when he kisses me goodbye in the morning.

I don’t see that, I always feel I am scowling when he wakes me up with words of encouragement and a nice kiss. My knee felt better this morning until I have to descend four flights of steps. Still thinking of looking into workers compensation and according to Bill and a lawyer I know, getting the info sooner rather than later would be for the best. The window for ‘exploiting the system’ will be closing soon and my knee does not seem to be getting better.

I did get a new pair of shoes delivered today, but they went to Julio’s workplace and I will have to get them from him at some point tomorrow. And in my workplace today, it wasn’t so bad. I did pretty good in sales.

Hobbling and limping around might have a place in hustling for sales commissions. “Oh lets buy some cigars from that gimp.”, sometimes said sotto voce as I lead the customer into the humidor, carrying a torch in my hand and a tray to carry cigars while saying ‘Yes Master..’ over and over.

It was Calvin and the brain dead Bradley who was quite miserable today, no Thomas around to make him feel superior and that he was Thomas’ boss. It wasn’t so bad though. The weather was nice and I sat on a bench near the park and enjoyed a cigar and finished last week’s New Yorker.

No time to start writing during the day, so I am writing it all now, at home. Tomorrow is a day off and I found out today that Sunday is a paid holiday. That’s super great.

Because you know, Easter is when Jesus comes out of the tomb and if he sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of Lent.

I haven’t heard anything about yesterday’s meeting. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe never. Oh well…


a rose for Antonia Mastropeirro

I Got You

The ghost of Tom Bosley haunts the shopping mall. Parents push strollers while babies bawl. Nothing active, nothing remains. Automatic focus brings forth no gains. Certain things are different, certain things are the same.
If it’s all the same to you, please repeat your name. Belief is a system, belief in a system. Systemic revolt revolves all over the place. 100 days, 100 nights plays on the public announcement speakers.
No one really ever knows where it comes from, nor do they know where it is going. In limbo, a suspended animation. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or is it an illusion, a mirage?
Snotty 30 year old teenagers mill about, causing a ruckus, making a scene. This sort of thing has got to end sooner or later. ‘Preferably sooner’ she said. Salt & pepper hair club for mensch belies a pressure drop, unsafe for those who aren’t concerned.
Beautiful women stand around outside holding signs for Project Worldwide. Information not shared with the unknowns.
And that more than likely includes you, you nosy person. Said loosely of course.

That’s where I began today. Not much else to say.
I did have the meeting. I wasn’t as anxious before the meeting as I am now. The guy I met was nice enough. He showed up and it was ‘quick, follow me’ as he trotted away. I did my best to keep up.

He talked and talked, no questions really. He asked for my sandwich which I of course had and gave to him. Then it was a tour of the premises after about 20 minutes of him talking.

It was a large enough complex, so many offices both large and small as well as indeterminate size. On the way I met Arnold who seemed nice enough. He was hired eight days ago. More offices and conference rooms.

I had to text the job to let them know I was going to be late. The guy I met handed me over to Arnold who finally asked me questions. He worked in hospitality. No so much of a listener though.

I explained that I am currently working retail and he then asked me if I was working in an office in the building that houses the cigar shack. I had to explain to him that no, I work retail.

It was an odd meeting and I left with a lot less confidence that I had yesterday. I was prepared for it this morning and afterwards I left feeling discombobulated. I got to the cigar shack about 15 minutes later than usual.



Sean aka Ryan aka Krispy


Sorry about the poetry thing at the start of tonight’s entry. Felt I had to write something. Both Thomas and the brain dead Bradley were hovering about looking at most everything that I did. If I smile, Thomas asks why am I laughing.

It doesn’t matter about the brain dead Bradley since neither one of us is talking to the other unless it absolutely has to happen. I did think it was odd when a customer came in after the brain dead Bradley left asking if Bradley was in. Was it a reader or just a mistake? Or perhaps it was ol’ lazy teat itself.

I’ll never know and I’ll probably care even less.

I Ain’t Hearing U

Another dismal and dreary day exploiting the system whichever way I can. Today was yet another grey day, overcast skies, drizzle every now and then. But I didn’t mind, I was going to be at work anyhow.

Last night Bill and I watched Nurse Jackie. Sometimes we’re in the mood to follow through with the United States of Tara, but last night was not one of those nights. Instead we watched the second half of the Ed Show before Bill went to bed.

I stayed up watching drivel of course and surfing the interwebs once again. Slept fairly well last night, no complaints, no horses named Charlie making an appearance. My knee is still messed up though, despite what Miss Lazy Teat Greg might think or write.

Let it get it straight because as the universe can tell you I can never get anything straight. The indignant manner of which Miss Lazy Teat Greg was humorous in hindsight. The mere mention of looking into Workers Compensation really got its vaginal juices a flowing.

Imagine if I actually pursued such a plan. Lawyers and friends have suggested looking into it and I’ve been hesitant, but having the feeling that if I do such a thing Miss Lazy Teat Greg would have a hemorrhage could make it all worthwhile.

And Miss Lazy Teat Greg really thinks I should be a more dedicated worked like the Bradley. That was a super sweet line, almost like it was written by the Bradley’s cross dressing (Holy Week plug) cousin Jorgen.

But that’s neither here nor there just as the Bradley is neither here nor there. He’s not here right now and for that I am glad. No, he has left to run his Jazz and Cigars and Whiskey event at a local cigar dive. 5 people signed up for it so I guess it’s a ‘success’.

The other day the elderly woman on the second floor passed away in her sleep. Antonia was her name and whenever I saw her I was always glad to help with groceries or her mail and taking out her trash. I suppose if you’re going to go, going when you’re asleep would be the way to go.

There is a viewing tonight around the block from the apartment, but me being at work means that I can’t make it, and forget about the funeral. That’s tomorrow and I’m definitely working, after a morning meeting with someone who I hope thinks I’m the bee’s knees.

I could use a better knee and I suppose a bee’s knee would suffice. Just have to stay away from those pollen zones. It’s been another long day on my feet in dress shoes on a concrete floor.

I have to say I am disappointed that Miss Lazy Teat Greg will not reveal its secrets for keeping knees fresh, I guess a magician never reveals its secrets and it’s all about the sleight of hand with Miss Lazy Teat Greg. Thanks for giving me something to write about Miss Lazy Teat Greg. You’re a prince, or a princess or something to be revealed at a later date.

I did meet a wood worker named Bill Hampton today. Bill has been coming into the store and getting empty cigar boxes from time to time. Today he came in to show one of the projects that he worked on, a banjo made from a cigar box. He even let me give it a strum.

2 work days in a row where someone brought in a guitar (or a banjo) and let me give it a go. Richard Lloyd from Television came in a few months ago with a classic Gibson acoustic and even he let me give it a strum. So despite working with the brain dead Bradley and Thomas it wasn’t such a bad day but it could have been better and not bitter.




Bill Hampton and his cigar box banjo


I Ain’t Done Wrong

Another day off. Yesterday was a day on, I suppose. I worked with Calvin, getting to the cigar shack before 10:30 and finding that Calvin had been there since 9:30 so he could have a cup of coffee and enjoy a cigar. Scary to think that that is his life.

It was an interesting day. I tried to tell myself that I wouldn’t say anything about the Bradley only to spill my guts when Calvin asked me how it was working with the Bradley the day before. I can’t say Calvin was surprised by what I told him about the Bradley.

I figured that whatever happened between the Bradley and myself would stay between the Bradley and myself, but that was not to be. I found out from Calvin that the Bradley regularly spills the beans about my interactions with customers and not in a favorable light. We agreed that the Bradley is gunning for a management position which means that the Calvin should better beware.

The night before when I came home I was pretty tired from trying to avoid the Bradley. I fell asleep around the usual time but could not fall asleep as fast as I would have liked. My knee was still bothering me despite putting a pillow between my knees. Also the fact that Bill wasn’t home made for an uncomfortable sleeping experience.

At one point as I lay in the bed, I decided to stretch my left leg. That caused a cramp in my calf. That was followed by a Charley Horse which took me by surprised but I massaged it away. I was not counting on about 4 other Charley Horses to occur. I felt each one, each starting off small and slowly then rapidly turning into a major pain in my thigh.

After massaging them away I walked it off, doing my best to get around the apartment. My Leggy Mountbatten impersonation is getting better each day. I took some ibuprofen and was able to sleep for a short while until Bill’s iTouch alarm went off about an hour later.

I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off though I tried. It went off again and I picked it up, got out of bed and put it in the TV room. All in all I was able to get about 3 hours of deep sleep. Not nearly enough but I got through the day.

Working with Calvin wasn’t so bad. He was busy doing his thing and I took care of as many customers as I could. It was a shorter day than usual and midway through I started to crash, likely from not enough sleep. I cleaned and counted the money, reconciling my drawer.

Calvin was going to stay, probably to have another cigar and allowed me to leave early. I made it to the bus terminal, limping down the stairs. Not too long of a wait, the longer wait was at the gate for the bus with no order just a mass of people all trying to get on the bus at the same time.

I came home, after climbing the four flights of stairs and found Bill fast asleep in the bed. I watched some TV, not much on that was entertaining.

Bill got up for a few minutes while I was engrossed in Miss Lazy Teat Greg’s latest tea bagging rant. I was a bit upset at what the tea bagger wrote, or what I perceive as a tea bagger. I guess it had inside information from my doctor, knowing that nothing was wrong with my knee though there actually is.

What is wrong is unknown, what is known is that it isn’t a cyst which is a relief to me, a blind spot to Miss Lazy Teat. I sent it an email asking that it would not read the blog anymore. Whether or not it stops reading it (or having it read to them), I won’t know unless it responds. No response will make it easily forgettable. In case you didn’t read its last rant, here it is from the previous entry’s comments:

Let me get this straight. You wasted insurance dollars and valuable Dr time to hear you are fine but still your immediate response is a free pass through workers comp? Even though a Dr confirmed you are not injured.You wonder why people think you are exploiting the system? If you would put as much effort at being good at your job as you do in whining and trying to cheat the system you could be more productive like the bradley.

I didn’t think I was wasting insurance dollars and valuable doctor time. I didn’t know I was ‘fine’ I still don’t think I am ‘fine’. If getting a ‘free pass’ through Worker’s Compensation was as easy as Miss Lazy Teat Greg thinks I am sure there would be a lot more people on the compensation teat. I can only guess that Miss Lazy Teat Greg wears knee pads when being tea bagged.

I should really stop answering ‘controls’.



a nice bloke who let me strum the Les Paul he just bought for his son






I, John

Drizzly and dreary both inside and outside today. Working with the brain dead Bradley who is quite an asshole today. Not much communication from him which is too bad since he’s sometimes fun to work with.

Today unfortunately is not one of those days. Last night before I left Calvin had me write notes for the Bradley today which I did, near exact quotes from Calvin. The Bradley ignores most of those notes and any suggestions. I offered to help him out but no, today he is working alone.

I saw some of his work and had some words just like this:
Me: Oh wow, that looks great.
The Bradley: It looks like shit.
Me: You’re right. What was I thinking? (and I walk away).

It’s bad enough to have to work on a weekend but working with this salt and pepper hair cut disguised as a man is unbearable. No matter. I can count on him leaving in about 2 and a half hours so after that all should be peachy, at least in theory.

Last night with Calvin was almost like working with a best friend compared to today. The Bradley has an event planned for Tuesday night and I’ve been on the fence about attending it to show him some support. Judging by his behavior today he can go fuck himself.

Who knew that such a nonperson could suck the life out of you? Oh he just left and not a moment too soon. I was near flat lining. Talented artist, zero personality. It’s a good thing I don’t write his real name, lest he be getting traffic from here to look at his artwork.

A schmuck is a schmuck is a schmuck. A schmuck by any other name is still a schmuck and this cracker is a supreme imperial schmuck.

The day could not end fast enough. Despite working with a cypher, I was choosing the music and it went really well. Before things got all pear shaped with the brain dead Bradley, he requested some Beatles ad I played disc one of the White Album, the 2009 Mono version.

Then disc one of More Hot Rocks by the Rolling Stones. I just got that from the bibliothèque, I can’t help it, Out of Time, Dandelion and We Love You are great songs. From there I went to the War Child compilation, from Beck covering Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat to TV on the Radio covering David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’.

That was followed by the Dark Was the Night compilation (which I bought the same day as War Child) and then onto a playlist which was supposed to be Joni Mitchell among others but somehow the iPod was set on shuffle which was annoying and after hearing Joni sing ‘Blue’ while in a cigar shack on a rainy Saturday, it proved to be too much so I went to Tom Waits and Swordfishtrombones to clear the air.

Talking Heads, Remain in Light followed by Steinski and The Selecter helped cool my head waiting for the brain dead Bradley to split. He wished me a good night and I said thank you. I did not wish him a good night since I really don’t care if he has a good night. I really don’t care if I see him again but I will.

Just another reason to get the hell out of there. The brain dead Bradley is a nightmare to work with. More difficult times than good times with him and I do not need to put up with his bullshit much longer (I hope).

Tomorrow is Sunday, so I will not be writing. Working with Calvin so I may have something to write about but I have my doubts.

Cheers.

before the rains came


orphaned umbrellas

a comment from Greg aka lazyteat@gmail.com with regards to last night’s entry.
Of course you want workers comp, you are looking to exploit the system again. Millions of people are working on their feet and don’t ask for workers comp instead they take pride in their job and work through it but you are looking for the easy way out. Instead of working through your problems you are always looking to cut corners. Be happy you have a job and stop complaining, please.

Yes, that’s me, looking to exploit the system again (?). I guess collecting unemployment was my exploiting the system. I simply cannot be the upstanding citizen that ol’ Greg seems to be. My knee is jacked up and millions of people (perhaps some with jacked up knees) are working on their feet. And proud of it. Suffering and smiling and proud.

Ol’ Greg doesn’t seem to like the complaining that I do about the job, I guess he’s been in my size 12’s and can (or cannot) relate. He did say please which was nice and shows that Greggo has manners which is pleasant to know. I’m just glad my online name is not lazy teat. Can corners be cut on a tit?

Greg dear, if you don’t like the complaining, don’t read this blog. I’ll be cool with it.
Would you happen to have any Cafe Press items for sale? Susquehanna Investment Group perhaps? Bala Cynwyd anyone?

I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder

Just got home. Lately I’ve been starting this here blog, each entry at the cigar shack during some down time, which isn’t really down time, just a quick moment here and there that I can stand and spew out as many words as possible.

Today I worked with Calvin so there was not much of a chance to do such a thing. Which I suppose is fine, but I do like to get a head start on these types of things. It was a busy day though, Calvin did over $3000 worth of business and I did more than $2000.

There was no Thomas and the Bradley was out as well. Marcus made an appearance despite phoning in sick before I got in. It was busy enough that time flew by fast enough.

I also saw Lovely Rita this afternoon. She was in the area, heading home after some dog grooming. It was wonderful to see her, certainly a thrill. She looked great as we caught up about each other, our partners and our friends.

It was on my lunch hour that kept being interrupted by customers (I did not mind at all seeing Lovely Rita on my lunch hour). That always happens. I take lunch and lots of people come streaming in. It’s similar to the occurrence of me having a day off and it almost always rains, or is mainly cold and overcast.

I take a bite, chew and swallow then I sell some cigars as my once warm food gets cooler and cooler. I’m used to it. It used to happen at Wanker Banker, at Wolff Olins and at BIO-IB. At least at those jobs I was able to sit comfortably throughout the day.

Nowadays I spend about 9 hours on my feet, in dress shoes, standing on concrete. The left knee has slowly gotten better but standing around all day certainly can’t help the matter. Bill suggested looking into Worker’s Compensation which I plan to investigate as soon as I can.

Right now I’m pretty much tired. Working tomorrow and Sunday. Tomorrow it’s me and the Bradley and Sunday is back with Calvin. It shouldn’t be so bad and it will involve wearing business casual clothes.

Now I am home, Bill on the couch, Bill Maher on the TV. Yes, the TV has come back with some strange hickeys on its tube. No idea where it’s been and I’m not one to ask. Though we’ve been together for a few years, somethings are better left unsaid.

I saw Hyman Gross on the bus tonight on the way home and he said hello. Calvin was gracious enough to allow me to leave 5 minutes early which got me to the gate in time to be home before 10:00. Everything evened out and reconciling the sales was a breeze tonight.

I would have left 5 minutes early if Calvin wasn’t there anyhow. Hopefully I will be sleeping well tonight. I did last night and once again there was difficulty waking up. Still not a morning person despite Bill’s finest efforts.

Good night.


I Will Be True

Another day in the cigar shack. After 2 days off it surprisingly isn’t so bad. Pleasant and a few laughs have been had so far. Today’s contestants are the Bradley and Thomas. And like a few Saturdays previous, they’ve been quite funny.

Each of us riffing and busting each other. It also helps that Calvin is off today and Marcus was out of the cigar shack within minutes of my arrival. I am starting to think that Marcus isn’t so bad and can’t help but feel that he’s been looking out for me. It helped I suppose that I was a customer when he was just starting out at another cigar shop across town.

Bill took off from work today, so many things on his mind and I am pretty sure a break from work and all that that entails is a good thing. Last night I watched Tropic Thunder which was funnier the first time around. It was still enjoyable to watch.

With the TV still out of walkabout, I threw in the DVD of Citizen Kane which is still fantastic. That is something I can probably watch over and over and I probably have. It used to be shown regularly on the Million Dollar Movie on WOR TV, Channel 9 to tri-state area folk.

It kept me up later than I expected but it was well worth it. Of course today being the day I go back to work the weather has been beautiful. The past two days, being the days I have off from work meant rain rain rain, or else a general dampness all around.

Still, at lunch I was able to wander over to the park bench where I usually go in warm weather and enjoy a cigar while I read the latest MOJO with the Bruddas on the cover, the Bruddas being the Ramones.

Great article about the recording of End of the Century, produced by famed murderer Phil Spector. I’ve been listening to the Ramones a lot lately. I regret only seeing them a few times, I would have liked to have seen them back in the day but I was too cowardly living in the suburbs and believing all the stories about how horrible New York City was.

It wasn’t until I started hanging out with Laszlo Papp and seeing things for myself that I found things to not be as bad as I was told. I mean I did go into the city on Easter Saturday in 1977 on my own and intentionally sought out the seedy side of Times Square.

When I came home I was smacked around by my brother Brian for not buying flowers with the money I had, instead buying a round trip ticket into Manhattan which I made sure that Brian never knew about.

I was 14 years old at the time and felt it was my duty to partake in the sexual revolution that was going on. All the places I was warned about were the places where I had carnal fun. Still I am quite lucky to be here today.

Today I also saw Sean outside and had a cigarette with him. As I smoked with him outside, up walks another former employee of the cigar shack, Der Fred, once again saying ‘I can’t believe you’re still here.’

A variation on his former standard of ‘I don’t know how you do this job day in and day out.’ It was good to see Sean though. He’s cuter than ever. I never really noticed it before. Sure he can be a pain in the ass, or was a pain in the ass, but sometimes being cute overcomes all that.

I just got the result from my ultrasound last week, all good. Nothing out of the ordinary. Good news indeed.






I Will Be Home Again

TV still out and about. No info on when it’s coming back and Bill doesn’t have much of a clue about it either. Last night without TV I surfed a lot online as well as watched the extras disc of Citizen Kane. Informative stuff, especially the parallels between William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles. Hopefully Bill will be able to watch it soon since it does have to go back to the bibliothèque.

I wound up staying up later than usual since I had off today. I didn’t write about this yesterday, but I received a phone call from the company I met with last Thursday. I was up and ready this morning, not much going on besides that.

No way to tell what the weather forecast was going to be. I didn’t turn on the radio, and merely looked out the window. Rain, grey clouds and some cold breezes going on outside. I wore the same suit as I did last week and headed out to the cold, damp streets.

I walked up to the bus stop about an hour later than I usually do and rode into the city. I talked to Bill who had just come back from meeting with a grief counselor, regarding Bill’s co-worker who was murdered by her grandson over the past weekend. I was on the phone quite a bit before I left the apartment and before he headed to his meeting since I had no internet when I woke up.

Now I have it but I was quite worried earlier. Also surprised at how much I depend on the internet. I always give myself enough time and with the knee acting up I give myself more time, but sometimes it isn’t enough.

This morning I was waiting on an already crowded subway platform waiting to go uptown. A few people had been waiting and exasperated threw their hands up in the air or slapped their thighs before heading back up to the street.

I was about to do the same thing (one hand in the air, the other slapping my thigh) when I headed to the elevator and saw a bunch of maintenance workers coming in off the tracks which meant that possibly a train was approaching. I waited and sure enough another train pulled in.

I rode to 59th and Fifth, sort of my old stomping grounds, near the Wanker Banker offices. I was early enough to kill time and use the bathrooms in Trump Tower. I still had a few minutes to kill and waited outside after that.

I headed up to the 21st floor of a skyscraper and for the first time in months, the receptionist showed me where I could hang up my coat as well as offering me a bottle of water. That is what I always used to do when I had that job, and nowadays receptionists don’t do that sort of thing.

I had my meeting, it lasted about a half hour. Most of the questions were from the previous week so they were easy to answer. One of the questions was regarding me having a bad day, how would the clients perceive such a bad day?

I told the interviewer that last week, on my way to the interview, I popped my knee. Still I rallied and the interviewer then did not know that I was in pain. She understood that and overall I think it went pretty well.

I was close enough to the Wanker Banker offices and decided to call my old friend Vinnie. A really good guy, very supportive. He was heading out for the day since he had come in early this morning. We chatted for about a half hour, catching up on this and that, where is so and so.

It was good to see him once again and once again he said I could use him as a reference. I told him I did that already. He said that was fine, just give him a heads up next time.

Now I’m home, writing. Still cold and grey outside and plenty of damp to go around. That’s about it for this end.








I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water

Well it’s a Tuesday and it’s been a rainy Tuesday at that. Not that I’m too upset about it. Like my brother Brian wrote to me, At least I’m not in that hellhole. And he’s right on that point. Not so bad.

Spent part of the day not wearing the knee brace and even walked around outside for a bit without. I should have worn it, but I managed nonetheless. I ran into Stine and Alexander for a few minutes. She came back from grocery shopping and then had to get Alexander ready for school.

He’s still so adorable and now calls me John instead of Don. We parted ways with Alexander screaming good bye with me responding in kind, halfway down the street. Some grocery shopping was in order for me too, as well as the first of two visits to the supermarket and a stop at the dry cleaners.

Back at home I had some breakfast, did some laundry and watched Eyes Wide Shut which I originally saw in a theater with Julio when it came out and it left be confounded and her it is years later and I’m still confounded.

I think that may have more to do with the casting of Tom Cruise as the male lead. Still a beautiful movie to watch though and the second DVD were worth watching if only for the interviews with Kubrick’s wife and daughters.

Then a trip to the bibliothèque to return the DVD where I took out Tropic Thunder, Citizen Kane and the CD of Squeeze, Argybargy. Bill hadn’t seen either Tropic Thunder or Citizen Kane and figured both would be good since he’s in a bad way today. It turns out a co-worker of his was murdered by a family member over the weekend and Bill was in a state of shock and grief. Now he’s home and just went to bed at around 8:45.

The television is out at the moment. Don’t know where it went. It left a note, saying it was going out for some cigarettes and the paper and hasn’t been back since. It was here last night, I swear it was, since I was watching Craig Ferguson until about 1:30.

Here’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for the past couple of weeks. The March blog statistics. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath. I think you might want to reconsider a different kind of bait, since people are starting to talk.

In March, this here blog had 1,526 visits. Some were for a few minutes, some were just for a minute. Some read a few pages, others just sneezed, blew their noses and shut down the tab, or window.

Here are the Top Ten cities that visit from March 2001:
New York (166 visits)
Hoboken (102)
Eureka (36)
Atlanta (32)
Bala Cynwyd (!) (30)
Lakewood (29)
(not set) (25)
Chicago (24)
Bilbao (23)
Philadelphia (18)

And the Bottom Ten are:
Auburn Hills (1)
Vista (1)
Haifa (1)
South Bend (1)
Leonardtown (1)
Esslingen (1)
West Lafayette (1)
Mount Vernon (1)
Huntsville (1)
Omaha (1)

Congratulations to all the nominees.




Actually the last ten that I posted went up from 491 to 500 cities.
Here are the actual bottom 10 cities as follows:

West Lafayette (1)
Sheffield (1)
Banja Luka (1)
Marietta (1)
Sopron (1)
Framingham (1)
Fairview Heights (1)
Chengdu (1)
Columbiana (1)
Mollica Hill (1)

Once again, thanks to all the readers, Bala Cynwid included.

I Was The One

Back at the Cigar Shack. It’s a Monday for everyone, for me it’s like a Friday since I have Tuesday & Wednesday which is quite nice I think. Yesterday was the inventory day at the Cigar Shack. I came home exhausted on Saturday night and finished up what I had started writing earlier in the day.

I took a Melatonin and soon fell asleep a little after midnight. Bill was still working, filling ticket orders for sporting events in the metropolitan area. He came home at 4:00 in the morning and at 5:15 he was standing above me asking me what time did I want to wake up. I said 5:00 and he told me it was 5:15.

I sat bolt upright in bed and immediately had a tantrum. Hitting the bed with my hands on each side of my body yelling ‘No No No!’ Still I got out of bed and showered, made some cereal and had some coffee. Bill went to bed after making sure I was awake and he gave me the number for a cab company so I could get a ride to the Path train.

No buses on Sundays in Hoboken until 7:00 which is when I was expected to be at the cigar shack. I got on the train thinking that I might be able to close my eyes for at least a few minutes but the coffee I had prevented that. I got off the Path and caught another train uptown.

I got off that train at the proper station and wandered around bleary eyed and limping. Too many staircases. Too damn early. I also took a Naproxen which sort of zoned me out. I was headed to get some coffee when I heard someone say I was walking like a pimp. It was Calvin. He was going to Starbucks and I was headed elsewhere.

The day wasn’t as bad as I expected. Things went smoothly since the store was prepped all week for the inventory and the Bradley and I put the finishing touch on everything on Saturday night. There were about 20 people in the store all counting and recounting and thanks to the prep work it went very easily.

I was beat though, from the Naproxen and from getting up early. I counted everything correctly though, at least I think I did. No mistakes, no corrections. Marcus brought in donuts and coffee and that is what I sustained myself with.

Where Marcus usually ordered pizza for everyone, this year it was every man for himself. Most of the bean counters went home by then while Thomas and the Bradley got their food. I wasn’t sure what to do since all I had was a stomach full of coffee and donuts.

Calvin made a point to tell me that the store will have to be put back together after lunch. Then Calvin went out to get his lunch. Marcus was still running around, making sure everything was counted and recounted correctly.

Then Marcus turned to me and asked if I closed the store the night before. I told him that I had and then he said I was free to go home. I asked if he was sure about that since I would take him up on it and he said he was sure, shaking my hand and thanking me for everything. Nice to hear.

I got my stuff and started to head out when in walks Calvin, asking me if I was going to get my lunch. Marcus told him that I was going home since I had closed the store the night before. If looks could kill, Calvin would have had me dead right there and then. But I didn’t ask to go home early, I was offered an early leave and I took it.

Had a fun phone call with Annemarie while waiting for the bus and I then came home and slept for about 45 minutes, not enough really but it helped. Bill and I watched TV before heading to bed. I expected Calvin to say something to me today about my departure yesterday but he didn’t say anything.

Still his method is usually bringing it up at a later date, when I will be totally unprepared for it.




******* 12:04AM
I met Anthony Weiner today. Forgot to write that. Nice guy, handsome and asked me my name as he shook my hand.

I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago

The day starts, sleeping as much as I could since Bill was not snoring last night. My knee seemed a bit better tonight, not so much a pronounced limp, more like a slight limp as I was getting around the apartment.

Bill was up and active already, he was headed into his office to catch up on work that he hadn’t done, or wasn’t able to do during the week. He told me I was beautiful and he kissed me goodbye as I was heading into the shower. Tears welled in his eyes. I told him he was crazy and saw him out the door. I love him so.

I got myself together and headed to the bus stop about an hour later. Descending down the four flights of stairs didn’t mess up my knee that much but it didn’t help matters either. I walked to Washington Street a half hour early since the Saturday schedule is not reliable at all, plus the extra time meant I wouldn’t have to hustle.

Chatted with Bill who by this time was in his office. I boarded the bus, uneventful ride into the city while reading the latest Mojo with the End of The Century Ramones on the cover. Taking the escalators, elevators and handicapped ramps in an effort to avoid stair cases. I made it up to the cigar shack area and called Bill once again.

The ace bandage I wrapped around my knee had come undone and was trailing behind me. I cursed it while talking to Bill on the phone and Bill tried to be positive whereas I was all negativity. I think he was fed up at this point and made a hurry to get off the phone.

He seemed busier at work with no one around than he is with everyone around like during the work week. I went to Duane Reade and got a new Ace bandage, self-adhesive since the old school method was no good. Those clips fall off at the most inopportune moments.

Made it to the cigar shack after picking up a coffee and dealt with my first customers, a young Japanese couple who spoke little English. While completing the transaction the phone started ringing.

I’m working with the Bradley today and he was unavailable. I answered the phone while helping the Japanese couple. The caller asked “Am I the one in charge of the Fancy Schmancy pens”. The cigar shack sells some fancy schmancy pens which I am loathe to advertise. I ask the caller, who he meant by in charge.

He replied, “I live on West 88th Street and we obviously speak a different form of English up here.” I say that I was just trying to clarify what he said, it could have meant whether or not I was in charge of ordering the fancy schmancy bullshit.

He mentions that he will be coming by the store after he swings by the United Nations to pick up a translator for me. He wants a gold fancy schmancy pen, which I see we don’t have. I give the phone to the now visible Bradley and let him handle the call. The Bradley tells the caller that I was actually helping out other customers and also eventually tells him that we do not have what he is looking for. I do expect the idiot scumbag customer to come in and make some more trouble for me.

Last night while I was counting money, Calvin suggested that I start coming earlier than my shift so I could relax and have a cigar in the man cave before my shift starts. I almost told him that I value my time away from the cigar shack than I do while in the cigar shack.

But I held my tongue, realizing that that is something he might prefer to do but it is definitely not for me.

Now I am at home. That’s it for me. Been a very long day and it’s over. Have to get up crazy early to be at the cigar shack at 7:00AM.

Bill’s not home yet, still at work. I will stay up and wait for him as long as I can. Took the recommended dosage of Naproxen, so a little out of it. Not writing tomorrow, a day off, but with inventory I might have something to write about. But I hope not.

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

Well despite being exhausted and somewhat high from the medication and jazz ciggie, I did not sleep well at all last night. The medication Naproxen, made me quite out of it and the jazz ciggie made my eyes heavily lidded, but I couldn’t sleep, knees bothering me, could not find a comfortable position to fall asleep in and once again Bill was snoring.

I would tell him as he slept that he was snoring, and then he would stop, only to start up with a different sound of snoring. Sort of like singing a different song. Finally I fell asleep but it seemed like only minutes later, Bill was kissing me good bye for the day.

He was worried about me, mostly because he saw that where it used to take me 30 seconds to get from the TV room to the kitchen, last night it took a few stumbling minutes. I wasn’t playing it up either. I eventually woke up and decided not to use the Shelaleigh like I used yesterday. I had no problem using it yesterday but once my sister mentioned how brittle it probably was, it made me nervous to use it again.

I was able to be mobile and took my time getting around the apartment. A shower and some breakfast with a Naproxen chaser. Made me out of it again. I took my time descending the stair case, hearing Alexander yelling (or merely talking) on the third floor, gave me hope. I made it out to the street and enjoyed a small victory cigar as I slowly walked up to Washington Street.

I tried to schedule an ultra sound yesterday but in Hoboken, the first time they could see me was next Wednesday. Bill mentioned last night to see if there was anywhere in Manhattan, close to the cigar shack where I could get it done. I looked at the insurance company’s website but in the Naproxen mindset I was in, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

This morning while on the bus I ran into neighbor Deborah from the fourth floor. I told her my tale of woe. Seems like all I have are tales of woe lately. Then again, I think a lot of people have woeful tales to be told these days.

She told me her tale, falling on some black ice a week ago and having to get an ultra sound for her hand, and also found a place close to work. Deborah and I parted ways in the bus terminal and I called Bill who had the same idea.

Since he was sitting at a computer he had better access and thankfully was able to find a place close to the cigar shack, make an appointment for me, and called my quack doctor’s office and get a faxed referral from him to the ultra sound place. I made it to work, and told Calvin and Thomas what was going on with my knee.

Thomas chimed in with his tale of woe. He has an ingrown toe nail. Yeah, really put my messed up knee to shame. He’s only 24 years old so youthful callousness can be forgiven.

It was another long day, 9 hours standing on my feet. I was able to get through the day and at 2:45 headed over to the Roosevelt Hospital area for the ultra sound. The reception desk was somewhat helpful, the actual ultra sound person, a very pregnant woman was a bitch.

It was over after about an hour and I limped back to work after nabbing a slice of pizza since I needed to eat something quickly. Later in the afternoon I was talking to a customer, and mentioned that my quack doctor suggested an ultra sound since it might be a cyst.

I didn’t think much of it being a cyst until the customer mentioned his hopes that if it is a cyst, that it’s benign. Benign? That means the opposite is malignant. That means what I didn’t want to think about. And that took up residence in the back of my mind for the rest of the day.

And that’s all I’m going to write tonight, I’m surprised I wrote this much.

I Want You With Me

And today is Thursday, a day off. A day with an interview scheduled as well. I went to bed a little bit earlier and I slept a little bit better than the night before. The night before, though I was tired I couldn’t sleep and Bill, despite wearing a mouth guard, was snoring. Last night Bill wore the sleep apnea mask so that worked out well, a quiet evening.

Bill and I reviewed my paperwork and everything seemed to be in order. He left this morning, with an encouraging kiss and words of support, leaving a nice note on my computer screen this morning, ‘Knock It Out the Box Bubee!’ He calls me Bubee, I call him Ubee. Yes I know, Bubee usually means Grandmother in Yiddish, but since neither of us is Jewish we use it for our own use.

Plus my mother called me Bubala a few times when I was growing up and according to the Urban Dictionary, it’s a Yiddish terms used by Grandmothers to call children. The modern usage of the word can be extended to any person that is considered darling and close to one’s heart. Neither Bubee or Ubee made the Urban Dictionary cut.

I slept a bit and was awoken by my cellphone ringing at 7:30. I missed the call, it was from a former co-worker from my Wanker Banker days, Christina. We spoke the other day and I was supposed to call her back at 7PM that night, but I totally forgot about it.

I hadn’t seen here since maybe 2008, 2009. She was between jobs then and I guess she has something now. She might be looking to me to help her out. I wish I could. I headed out this morning earlier than usual and Bill gave me a heads up, saying that there may be tunnel traffic or overcrowded buses since there was a problem with the trains and more people than usual could be riding.

I was just happy the power did not go out again like it did with the previous interview a week or so ago. I rode the bus, reading the New Yorker since I had to return the Keith Richards autobiography yesterday. I have no idea how it ends, and I hope it turns out well.

When I was getting off the bus I ran into 2 Hoboken friends, Alice and Carol. I hadn’t seen any of them in a while and it was good to see them. Carol hopped in a cab and Alice told me of her adventures with Genesis P. Orridge and Psychic TV.

We parted ways at 6th Avenue and 41 Street and I walked through Bryant Park on the way to the Chrysler Building. At 42nd & Fifth I thought I could beat the light and gingerly stepped off the curb. That is when my left knee acted up. I almost wrote gave out, but I was able to hobble across the street, my pace greatly diminished and every step I took, produced a grimace on my face.

Still I had to get it together and I had a few minutes to collect myself. I decided to sit in the Grand Hyatt and review my paperwork and also to get off my feet for a few minutes. Ironically, the Grand Hyatt is where Der Fred used to work, where he would always yap in my ear about how he could get me a job there, that is until Der Fred was let go from his position.

I sat in the lobby in a comfortable yet awkwardly deep chair and reviewed my papers. After a trip to the loo and deciding not to pay $4.00 for a cup of coffee, I headed out again, limping across Lexington Avenue.

I made it up to the 26th floor where I was supposed to meet with Wendy. Instead, Jamal came out and interviewed me for a half hour. Even though there wasn’t nearly enough coffee in my body, I think I aced the interview and answered the questions properly and also asked a few questions which seems to be the way to go. Asking questions shows an interest you see.

It was over in about a half hour and I did my best to conceal my limp and my discomfort. Once on the street I called up Bill who asked me to stop by on my way back to the bus terminal. I told him it might be a while since I jacked up my knee.

Sure enough it took a lot longer than my usual pace and I sometimes found myself following someone else with a leg problem and also cursing out tourists who would step in my path. I caught up with Bill who got me into his building and let me use his loo. And I really needed to at that point, body clock all out of whack you see.

After that, a slow walk to the bus terminal, and I felt like Hyman Gross, looking for an escalator. Luckily the escalator to the gate was working and I rode it up. Missed the previous bus by 7 minutes so I stood and read the New Yorker.

Standing isn’t a problem, it’s getting up after sitting down which is the problem. Oh and walking too. Right now living on the top floor of a 5 story walk up is not as easy as it was yesterday. I took some Advil, laid on my bed with my legs stretched out on the wall and tried to sleep but sleep was not forthcoming.

I did make an appointment to see my doctor at 4PM today and it’s almost 3:00 now so I might want to get moving soon. So I made it down 4 flights of stairs and was early for the doctor’s appointment. That worked out fine since he saw me 15 minutes earlier than scheduled.

I stood in his office since sitting down then getting up is the problem, the getting up part. He had me sit on the table and roll up my jeans above my knee. I offered to drop the trousers but he said there was no need. He had me stand up and then realized that yes it would be better if I dropped my pants.

“Yes, your knee is swollen,” and he gave me a prescription for Naproxen to reduce the inflammation and so far it’s worked somewhat. Still a pain to negotiate stairways and curbs. I’ve been using a Shelaleigh that my father used to have, which I also leant Bill years ago when he jacked up his knee. So I’m learning how to use that.

It’s been one of those days.

I Want to Be Free

Another day, another dollar, or something less than that I suppose lately. It’s a Wednesday and once again I find myself at the cigar shack. Life is great with Bill, my rock, the love of my life.

Right now, Bring on the Night is playing by the Police. It’s just Calvin and myself for the next hour, then he heads home and I figure out how to balance and reconcile the register with whatever transactions might have taken place.

The day has been not so bad, once again though I find myself trailing in the sales department, all through the luck of the draw and I’m all sixes and sevens and nines. Tomorrow is a day off which is something to look forward to.

The cigar shack is getting ready for an inventory this Sunday, which is something that I’m dreading though it probably won’t be that bad. My only previous experience doing inventory was when I was working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and if it wasn’t for the canonization of my mother I probably would have been fired.

And justifiably so. Counting books, counting cartons of books all without the use of calculators. The non-use of calculators probably helped with the decision to get rid of certain people who simply couldn’t add and I was one of those people.

I was partnered with Lou Nagy, a gruff forklift operator with a mouth like a sewer and a pot belly to match. He was funny and also crazy and the fact that I wasn’t killed while being sent up hundreds of feet in a ramshackle contraption is basically a miracle.

Inventory meant overtime and that meant good money in the late 1970’s early 1980’s. I mainly recall inventory before the introduction of Julie Diemer and Andy Johnson and Noel Walls and the departure of Dave Manzo, Paul Lo Presti and John Vasichek.

Just had an arrogant yet cute bull of a man who seemed to be getting upset with the fact that couldn’t read his mind regarding the cigars that he had wanted to buy. I did eventually set him off on his way with cigars I would like after he showed me a text message he got from Elizabeth Marvel swearing that she would do anything he wanted since he hasn’t steered her wrong yet.

Perhaps a rendezvous is on the books for the Cigar bar a few blocks from this cigar shack. 20 more minutes with Calvin is on the agenda then another hour for me solo. I could have sworn I hit at least 500 words so far but no, not really.

Still below 450 which is disappointing somewhat. Time to put this away before Calvin returns from his beer run.

Now Calvin has split and I am solo. 20 minutes before I can close the cigar shack and count the money. Janet Jackson’s When I Think of You is playing. Really sweet song. Almost at 500 words.

Actually less than 14 words are due. Now less than 4.

And just as I was about to close, an old handbag of a woman walks in. She is wearing hipster glasses which makes her 70 something self seem ridiculous. She pulls out a bottle of Lampe Berger and asks if she can exchange it for a bottle that doesn’t make her want to vomit.

It seems her husband bought it for her and she is not one for the Ocean Breeze. I ask if she has a receipt and she doesn’t. I explain that any exchanges must be done within 14 days of the purchase and must be accompanied by a receipt.

She complains that she’s a regular customer and doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. I explain that I’ve never seen her before and she responds that she doesn’t come here, her husband does and she doesn’t smoke cigars.

I figure I have a minute left and don’t need her post-menstrual aggravation so I let her do the exchange, while mentioning that I could lose my job over this. The aging hipster decides on some bullshit and she’s relatively happy, flaky thighs and all.

Her horribly hen pecked husband shows up all smiles and I merely say, ‘Have a good happy’ and show them to the door as I watch her explain to her humbled and hobbled husband what just transpired.

I get the job done, everything balanced, ride the bus home with Hyman Gross once again and now I am home with Bill. Day off tomorrow. Happy about it.




I Walk The Line

Back to work today after a good night’s sleep. Still not feeling all that great but the relationship between Bill and myself is stronger than ever. I really do love him so and apparently I said a few of the right things to say to him when I got home on Sunday night.

I wish I can remember what they were, but until I do I’ll just play along. Last night’s sleep was quite good, had a few dreams one involving Macca, the other involving being almost killed by a crane when it dropped whatever it was that was being suspended.

In the dream I was laying on the ground looking up and realizing that it was going to fall, I moved a few feet out of the way before it came crashing down. Any dream interpretations are welcome.

I’m pretty sure standing around for 9 hours a day is doing some damage to my leg. I just sat in the man cave with my leg elevated somewhat and now it feels better. Still tonight, I won’t walk down to the bus terminal, I’ll give it up to the MTA along with my $2.25.

Listening to David Byrne’s The Catherine Wheel right now at the cigar shack and also right now I am in third sales wise.

Cassandra Wilson came into the store today. When she came in I wondered to myself if that was Cassandra Wilson and then Calvin asked her if she was who he thought she was and when she answered that she was and I was surprised to have been correct.

No jazz queer me, but Thomas who is a jazz queer had no idea who she was. She was nice and sat in the man cave, smoking cigarillos and talking with the men folk.

I was incredibly anxious about going into work today since I called in sick. Probably since I hadn’t followed the mythical corporate handbook previously, I felt they would have said something about how I dialed the phone, or the way I left a 45 second voice mail.

But no, nothing was said. In fact Marcus has the same symptoms as I did. And so did Pedro who had chicken wings to my chicken fingers on Sunday afternoon.

Does this have anything to do with the solar storms, the earthquakes, or maybe because some Christianists have predicted the world to end next month? I have to make to Thursday, my next day off as well as a meeting I am taking in the building where the Coneheads flew off from in the late 1970’s.

I doubt I will be in the same spot as Margaret Bourke White in her iconic photograph from way back when. Just about an hour left in my day here in the cigar shack. It can’t end soon enough.

I am going to try to make that 9:42 bus and ride with Bill & Hyman. That means sneaking out a little early but I really don’t care, which is the wrong attitude to have but it’s all that I got.

I caught the bus with Hyman, Bill was unable to catch the bus. He was missed.

I Understand Just How You Feel

Oh how the past 24 hours have been a rollercoaster. Lazy start in the morning yesterday, heading into the city to have lunch with Pedro, fun phone call with Annemarie. It was a fun time with Pedro, meeting up at the Astor Place cube.

We walked down St. Mark’s Place and wound up at BBQ, which is tacky but where we’ve eaten before. Lots of stories from Pedro, not about Rikers, but rather about his life. I’m not one to spill the beans, it’s his story and not mine and way too personal.

Over a few drinks we laughed and talked and eventually wandered around the East Village. Pedro dropped me off near the bus terminal after unsuccessfully trying to talk him into dropping me off in Hoboken. He probably would have done it if it weren’t for the bumper to bumper traffic.

I came home and took a nap. Bill had ordered a pizza and after a few hours’ sleep I woke up again, hungry for some pizza. No pizza to be had. An argument was to be had though. A loud argument, in each other’s faces. Accusations thrown back and forth. It got ugly fast and ended just as fast.

Bill apologized and I accepted. I did not sleep well at all last night and woke up feeling quite queasy and dehydrated. I figured there was no way I would be able to get through the day, spending 9 hours on my feet, so I called Marcus’ cellphone and left a voice mail message explaining my situation in semi graphic terms.

I knew I made the right decision in not going into work, still there is some regret and a feeling of dread that I will certainly hear about it tomorrow when I get in. I did follow their rules though and called directly, but I did not call Calvin since he was off today.

Bill had kissed me good bye for the day and he was very apologetic for last night. As I went through the day today I found a few reasons for me to apologize as well. He should be home in about an hour and I can’t wait to see him.

He was an asshole last night and I was an asshole too. I suppose we’re lucky to realize and accept that both of us were right on some things, and wrong about other things, or at least the way the other things were presented.

For me today was a day of feeling a bit unwell as well as regret for the way things turned out to be last night. Things will be better later when Bill gets home and will be better tomorrow. And as for me, I’m not so much a drinker these days and I’m sure alcohol had some say in what happened last night.

Bill and I chatted online earlier, and we both realize we need each other, really yin and yang stuff. I think we turned a corner last night, a hard turn but a turn nonetheless. Bill is home now, and I was able to have a short nap before he came home. And I am glad he’s home.



I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here

Where last week, working with Thomas and the Bradley was a lot of fun, this week is a total 180 degrees from that. Really no fun to be had this week. And I suppose my chickens have come home to roost.

I admit being a musical fascist, I’m somewhat known for my musical savvy (or so I would like to think) today I’ve been effectively shut out of any musical decisions of what gets played here in the shop.

Thomas has been manning the controls today, jazz jazz jazz and a smattering of Yo Yo Ma playing Bach Cello Concertos which was mournful and made an already slow day seem like a patient etherized on the table. And how I wished to be that patient.

I almost felt like the patient. It’s really too bad, but I didn’t have any actual expectations. I had none whatsoever and still I was let down. I guess both Thomas and the Bradley had gone out and had a few separately making them somewhat hung over today.

I do know the Bradley had a few coffee tequilas last night, at least that’s what he said. Thomas was out and about with his fiancé, at a jazz show last night in the vicinity of the cigar shack.

I did have an opportunity to play some of my own choices, but eventually a customer asked if he could play just one jazz song. I knew it would be more than one jazz song (though it could actually be one very long jazz song).

In any event I am quite glad I have off tomorrow and won’t have to see these yobs until Monday. Really, anytime away from these yobs is quality time. I certainly have to get the hell out of this shop though.

Hopefully things will pick up by the end of the week. Or at least I will have a clue with regards to a new direction. Of course I play the role of the tragic optimist quite well thank you.

I did have the foresight to as Calvin to arrange for me to have May 1 & May 3 off. May 1 is the Art & Music Festival, Ian Hunter headlining. And May 3 is when Bill sings the National Anthem at CitiField. I sent Calvin the email so either it will register or fall by the wayside, depending on the point of sobriety he may be at when creating the schedule.

I did get a call from Pedro. We’re supposed to hang out tomorrow. Hard to believe I hadn’t seen him since last summer. Perhaps he will have a lead. He was pulling for me to get a job at so & so’s restaurant but apparently that fell through. 2 hours and 20 minutes to go.

Probably more jazz to be played. It was so bad that I stepped out earlier with my iPod and played the Ramones to clear the decks so to speak. Did wonders for me and I came back whistling Beat on The Brat.

A few hours later and I am home now, it’s almost 10:30. Got in about 15 minutes ago. My drawer was short 3 cents and I had to find out why things could not reconcile. I found the sale, voided it and reentered it adding the 3 cents.

This job truly fills me with despair and despondency and those feelings have been occurring more and more lately. Being a janitor seems preferable. I caught a subway downtown and listened to the Cocteau Twins which reminded me of Jet.

I got to the bus terminal and rode the escalators up. I pulled out the Keith Richards autobiography and started to read it, and changed the iPod from the Cocteau twins to the Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street.

I’ve owned Exile on vinyl but never really played it, and a few months ago I was able to get a copy of the deluxe CD from the bibliothèque, so I uploaded that. I pulled out Keef’s bio and started to listen to Casino Boogie when I felt a tap on my back.

Hyman Gross, tapping me with his cane. I did not see him at all, so focused I was on just getting home. Once again, thwarted from reading and escaping and relaxing. I talked with Hyman as we waited for the bus as well as riding on the bus.

Now I am home, more than happy to be here. RoDa texted me, telling me the bands at Maxwells were really kicking. If I wasn’t filled with dread and despair I might go, also if I wasn’t so damn tired, and if my knee wasn’t bothering me.

And Harpy called in response to my Facebook status. I am not alone, I have friends and family that love me. Nice to hear, but I really did not want to be on the phone with anyone, sorry Harpy. I’m so damn tired.

No posting tomorrow. Make up your own damn stories.